Smile Politely

Cross Alex Cross off your list

Alex Cross, the film, is a reinvention of Alex Cross, the forensic psychologist character made popular by James Patterson in his series of print thrillers. In Alex Cross we are introduced to the eponymous detective (Tyler Perry) who works with a team in the South Carolina police department. In the course of human events, Cross runs afoul of a man called Picasso (Matthew Fox), who is apparently an assassin of some sort, and who gets pleasure from the pain of his victims. This killer starts knocking off the rich and the wealthy by finding them, paralyzing them with a drug, and then torturing them to death. Things turn personal when the assassin targets someone Alex Cross loves.

I hate this movie. Tyler Perry is, in my opinion, absolutely the wrong choice for the role of Alex Cross. I would have much preferred British actor Idris Elba, who was originally offered the role. This film feels very much like another dramatic interpretation for Perry, and, unfortunately for him, it doesn’t ring very true to what audiences already know about the character from the books and previous films (Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider). Perry’s performance is far too melodramatic to be deemed anything near realistic. I can distinctly recall flinching when Perry, as Cross, uttered the line, “He wants to make people hurt,” to describe his analysis of the killer. Duh. In Perry’s defense, his performance seems mostly the result of a lifeless script and irritating stock characters.

The other main problem of this film is that it was reworked as an action franchise by director Rob Cohen, who is famous for helming action films like xXx and Stealth. Cohen has proven on multiple occasions that he doesn’t know how to put story first in the films he chooses to direct. He always seems to be thinking about what action set pieces would be good for specific scenes before he even begins plotting how to make sure that the story progresses properly.

The one and only positive point of Alex Cross is the impressively creepy performance of Matthew Fox as the assassin. He is so unnerving to watch on screen, and is, throughout the film, entirely unpredictable. Did he save this movie from being depressingly bad? No way! He did, however, provide the level of tension needed for the plot to progress. Also, one has to admire the dedication of any actor to so drastically lose weight and add muscle for a role. His lean, grim physical appearance makes him look even more disturbing than the detestable acts of cruelty he performs on his victims.

Alex Cross is a film that should be crossed off your list as a viewing choice at the theater. Skip it.

One Star.

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